YOUNG people can apply for new apprenticeships that combine on-the-job training in the City with a coaching course at a top football club.
The pioneering apprenticeship is being run by employment charity Leadership Through Sport & Business (LTSB), which says it offers an affordable alternative to going to university, at a time when the government is trying to encourage more apprenticeships.
LTSB apprentices go on paid work placements with top employers who include Barclays, city-interdealer brokers ICAP and accountants Baker Tilly, whilst studying part-time at college for academic qualifications in accounting or information technology.
In a unique twist, the apprentices will also gain valuable leadership and employment skills by doing an FA football coaching course with football clubs – Aston Villa, Chelsea, West Ham and Leyton Orient have signed up to the scheme.
The charity says the Prime Minister recently announced measures to create more apprenticeships at a time when the average university student will graduate with debts of up to £45,000.
Caroline Adair, executive director at LTSB, said: “The high cost of studying at University plus the fact that many companies are crying out for young people with good employability skills, means that apprenticeships are now more important than ever.
“We offer young people from state schools or disadvantaged backgrounds the chance to transform their lives by training for a great career while they are earning.
“There is the added bonus of building up your leadership ability by doing a coaching course with a top football club. The things that you learn on the football field – like good communication and teamwork – are highly valued by employers.
“Our programme also teaches the importance of workplace skills like dealing with responsibility plus basic requirements like good presentation and punctuality. These are not always delivered by a degree, which means our apprentices actually often have a head start in the jobs market over many graduates.
“The feedback that we are getting from leading employers is that our apprentices have exactly the right attitude and skills that are required to embark upon successful careers with good salaries.”
She added: “We have places available right now, but they are filling fast.”
The scheme is also backed by The Macquarie Group (LTSB’s principle corporate funder) and the financial charity Futures For Kids.
The LTSB scheme has almost a 100 per cent success rate, with the majority of apprentices either being offered a full-time job by the employer that provides their work placement, or landing a job elsewhere.